Seroprevalence of Antibodies against Noroviruses among Students in a Chinese Military Medical University


American Society for Microbiology


Noroviruses (NVs) are important causes of nonbacterial gastroenteritis in humans, but the role of NVs as a cause of diseases in the Chinese people, particularly in Chinese military personnel, remains unclear. This study investigated antibody prevalence and factors that associate with the prevalence of antibody to NVs among students attending a military medical university. Serum specimens were tested by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for immunoglobulin G antibody to recombinant capsid antigens of three NVs (rNorwalk, rMxV, and rVA387). Of 588 serum samples tested, the antibody prevalence was 88.9, 54.1, or 90.0% for the three antigens, respectively. There were significant differences in the prevalence of antibody to rMxV between blood types (P < 0.05); the prevalence for type O was the highest (62.5%), and the prevalence for type B was the lowest (49.1%). The average optical density values for antibody to rNorwalk and rMxV were lowest among students with type B. The number of students who did not have antibody to any of the three antigens was the highest for blood type B (6.9%) compared to other blood types (0.8 to 3.4% [P < 0.006]). The antibody prevalence also varied with the hometown residencies of the students before joining the military, with the highest rates for students from rural areas, lower rates for students from small towns or villages, and the lowest rates for students from large cities. The numbers of students who did not have antibody to any of the three antigens were highest for students from the large cities, lower for students from small towns or villages, and lowest for students from rural areas. The distribution of ABO blood types did not differ among the three groups. These data suggest that NVs are prevalent in China and that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in NV infection.

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